PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is now a member of the Dutch-led criminal investigation team probing the MH17 tragedy.
The decision was reached after a meeting between Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte here yesterday.
“Malaysia has lost 43 people in this terrible disaster.
“The aeroplane was carrying a Malaysian flag so it only makes sense that Malaysia plays an integral role in the investigation.
“It is only natural and logical that Malaysia is fully involved and that is exactly what the Netherlands wants and what we are working on together,” Rutte said at a joint Press conference after the meeting.
Malaysia has been a member of the technical investigation team but not the criminal investigation team led by the Dutch Ministry of Justice.
Malaysia’s ambassador to the Netherlands Datuk Dr Fauziah Mohd Taib was reported by the Dutch media on Oct 30 as saying that Malaysian authorities were frustrated by their lack of involvement in the criminal investigation.
Najib, when asked about Fauziah’s comments, had said he expected Malaysia to become a member of the criminal investigation team soon and that it would play a constructive role in the team.
“We do not have any problem with the Netherlands,” Najib said.
He added, “We hope that Malaysia’s level of participation would become more evident in the days to come,” he said.
Najib reiterated Malaysia’s commitment in bringing the perpetrators of the MH17 crash to justice.
“This is our deep commitment and we must do everything possible to ensure that justice is done and seen to be done.
“We have to ascertain what truly happened to the plane beyond any doubt whatsoever.
“We have preliminary knowledge but it has to be backed by solid forensic evidence,” he said.
Rutte flew in by Malaysia Airlines flight MH19 to the KL International Airport at 7.30am.
This was his first official visit to Malaysia since he took office as the prime minister of Netherlands in 2010.
MH19 was the call sign for the MAS-KLM code sharing service that replaced the MH17 flight number following the July 17 tragedy.
When asked his reason for choosing to take MH19, Rutte said the flight had special meaning due to its connection with MH17.
“Taking this flight brings memories, and it is also the ‘best connection’ between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
Rutte also commended MAS for the services he had received during the flight.
He described MAS as a professionally run airline with “fantastic staff onboard” that offers the best connection between Europe and Malaysia.
Rutte flew to Canberra yesterday evening for a working visit to Australia where he is scheduled to discuss MH17 developments with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.